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[Review] QC Issues Mar Otherwise Fantastic Ultimate City Hunter

Image Source: NECA

With Shane Black hard at work on the new Predator film, and with the upcoming 30th anniversary of the original film, talk turns to 1990s unfairly-maligned Predator 2. Sure, it wasn’t as good as the original, and the decision to have Danny Glover as the main protagonist seems to fly in the face of what we got with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it was still a fun film. Plus, it gave companies like NECA an opportunity to put together some cool merchandise. In this case, NECA’s Ultimate City Hunter Predator, which sports some welcome additions/modifications over the original version, as well as some new accessories.

Packaging:

As with the rest of the Ultimate line by NECA, the figure comes in window-box packaging with a flap that opens to reveal the figure. The cover art is the “Hunting season opens again…” one-sheet, which isn’t my favourite (“He’s coming to town with a few days to kill.”), but it better shows off the Predator in action. The back of the box features shots of the figure, as well as the film’s synopsis.

Sculpting/Paintwork:

For those who complain that every NECA Predator is the same, I have to ask how you can complain when you have a figure in this price range with this much paint detail and sculpt quality? For starters, the paint this time around for the armor is more blue, while the striping on the skin is darker. The amount of dry-brushing really brings out the details in the armor, and really brings out the sculpt’s details. Skin is still amazingly painted, even with the painted-on netting, with no missed spots or smearing. And yes, the wrist computer does have the painted panels for the countdown. The sculpt is the same as before, which is still incredibly accurate for a figure of this size, and still holds up when compared to other more recent Predator figures. The dreadlocks are individually sculpted and are soft enough that you can move them around in order to get the proper pose. The pouches and loincloth pieces are all separate, so be careful with posing to not break them. They may come out of the package a bit warped, so use that hair dryer.

Articulation:

The updated articulation affords far more posability for this guy. The head is on a ball peg and can move around fairly easily, save for the dreadlocks and plasmacaster. The pin-and-socket arms can move outward and rotate, with the figure’s left arm being able to move all the way around thanks to the shoulder armor piece being on the bicep itself. Speaking the biceps, the new articulation includes a bicep swivel, which works very well, even with the armor. Also new are double-jointed elbows that bend greater than 45°. There is a swivel in both forearms, and the hands are on a ball joint. There is an ab crunch, which combined with the new ball-joint at the waist, do give the figure a bit more range, but nothing spectacular. The legs are on pin-and-socket joints that rotate at the hips and can move forward and back fairly well, and move outward (though the armor does hinder the range). The knees are double-jointed and afford greater than 45° range. Lastly, the feet are on ball pegs that afford adequate range.

In spite of all of the positives about the articulation, there are some problems. NECA has almost always been very good regarding QC issues, but unfortunately, this is one time where QC slipped. There have been reports of either the wrist computer snapping off (due to the single hinge being so small), or the crotch connector for the hip joints has cracking issues. While I avoided the hip issue, the wrist computer on mine snapped off after taking the figure out of the packaging.

Accessories:

We get two different heads this time, masked and unmasked. The heads are nicely detailed like the figure itself and can pop on and off the ball peg with no problems. The figure also has the signature Predator plasmacaster, which is ball-jointed and also slides along the track in the armor. Straight from the earlier Predator Accessory Pack by NECA is the blast effect for the plasmacaster, which pegs in nicely. The figure also comes with five different hands in total. There are two gripping hands, two styled posing hands, and a left hand that will hold the net launcher. Speaking of the net launcher, it’s included (duh) and pegs onto the left shin. The Smart Disc is also here and can be pegged into the figure’s holster on the right thigh. The figure also has two versions of the combispear (collapsed and extended), which can be pegged into the clasp on the back of the figure. The wrist-mounted blaster is new to this guy, and features collapsed and extended versions as well. Lastly included is the skull and spinal cord, which has a slight paint variation (more glossy) than the older City Hunter figure.

The only thing missing (and it’s a wish) is a severed hand and stump. I know, it probably would have driven the price up, but the old Movie Maniacs Predator 2 figure had this. Still, can you really complain when NECA has given us some awesome accessories?

Overall:

If you missed out on the original City Hunter figure, this is definitely a much-improved version with more accessories for your dollar, QC issues notwithstanding. The new articulation is a welcome addition, and the new accessories fit in very well. If you already own the older figure, this one is still worth your while to grab. Just be careful with that wrist computer. Still recommended.

Big thanks once again to Northmen Collectibles for making this figure available.


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